Iraq urges Kuwait to halt legal action in airways case

Iraq called on Kuwait to halt legal action against Iraqi Airways following Kuwaiti attempts to seize one of the carrier's planes in London.

Iraq urges Kuwait to halt legal action in airways case

Iraq called on Kuwait on Thursday to halt legal action against Iraqi Airways following Kuwaiti attempts to seize one of the carrier's planes in London.

A lawyer for the Kuwaiti authorities obtained a British High Court order to prevent the director general of Iraqi Airways, who is currently in London, from travelling and seized his passport, Iraq's transport ministry said in a statement.

Baghdad and Kuwait have been locked in a long-running dispute over billions of dollars in reparations from Iraq, including about $1.2 billion related to aircraft and parts that were seized during former dictator Saddam Hussein's 1990-91 invasion to Kuwait.

The dispute is between Kuwait Airways Corp and Iraqi Airways, both of which are state owned.

Iraqi Airways made its first commercial flight on Sunday after 20 years, flying into London. Once the plane landed at Gatwick airport in London, a lawyer for the Kuwaiti authorities tried to seize the plane, but failed because it was leased from a Swedish firm, the ministry said in the statement.

"The ministry is surprised at these provocative acts by the Kuwaiti authorities... whenever Iraqis are trying to open a new window to the world," the transport ministry said.

"We urge our Arab brothers to pressure the Kuwaitis to stop such behaviour, which does not help both sides to forget the past and open a new page in bilateral relations."

Christopher Gooding of the law firm Fasken Martineau, which is representing Kuwait Airways in the dispute, said in a statement the Kuwaiti airline had obtained a High Court order on April 27 against Iraqi Aiways.

That order included freezing the assets of Iraqi Airways worldwide "subject to frequent judicial review".

The ruling also required the director general of Iraqi Airways to provide a statement on the airline's assets and remain within the jurisdiction of the High Court, plus have his passport seized to make sure he did.

"(Iraqi Airway's) response to the order has been to do nothing. Absolutely nothing, which is in line with its approach since 2005 and fully supports the contention of (Kuwait Airways) that drastic action by the court was justified," " Gooding said in the statement.

A British Foreign Office spokesman said this was a "commercial matter for the two airlines concerned."

The spokesman said a further hearing on the Kuwait Airways injunction would be held on April 30.

Reuters

Last Mod: 30 Nisan 2010, 08:18
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